11 Best Pre-Workout Meal Ideas For Fat Loss & Muscle Gain

You’ve got the workout routine down. Now it’s time to figure out your pre-workout meal.

But it’s not always clear what and when you should eat before your workout. The best foods for you depend on your fitness goals.

That’s why I’m going to share my 11 best pre-workout meals for weight loss and muscle gain. So you can optimize your nutrition and get the most out of your training sessions.

Pre Workout Meal

Pre-Workout Meal Defined

When we think of meals, sometimes we picture cooking, sitting down to eat, and cleaning up after. But a pre-workout meal doesn’t have to be a formal affair.

Instead, any kind of nutrients you put in your body count as a meal in this case. Whether that’s a fully prepared traditional meal, or something as simple as a shake or smoothie.

Another point to clarify, pre-workout refers to a window of time leading up to a resistance training session. And that could be anywhere from 2 hours to 30 minutes before you hit the weights.

Why Is The Pre-Workout Meal Important?

Eating before your workout fuels intense training while setting the stage for recovery and growth.

Also, the kind of food you eat dictates your metabolic state. And that affects the amount of fat and carbs that you burn while you workout.

So let’s take a look at different types of foods in terms of macronutrients.


Whatever your goal, it’s almost always a good idea to get some protein in before your workout.

The reason is that your body uses amino acids during intense training. And if they’re not readily available from your diet, your body will break down your muscles to get them.

Therefore, eating protein before a workout is the best defense against losing muscle.


When you’re doing anaerobic workouts like weight lifting, carbs are your body’s preferred energy source. So it’s no mystery why pre-workout carbs are beneficial for muscle building.

But that doesn’t mean you should always eat carbs before the gym. In fact, you should keep carbs to a minimum if your goal is fat burning. Because your body will burn more fat when carbs are not immediately available.


Dietary fat is another potential energy source for workouts. And you can bump up your fat intake with a low carb meal for a fat-burning workout.

But you should consume fat in moderation with a high carb meal before a muscle-building workout.

Pre Workout Meal Fat Loss Muscle Gain

Now let’s look at how you can assemble those macronutrients into actual meals. Here’s a list of my 11 best pre-workout meals for muscle gain and fat loss. Below that, you’ll find more detail on each meal.

Best Pre-Workout Meal Ideas

  1. Protein Oatmeal & Honey
  2. Blueberry Banana Smoothie
  3. Rice Cake Peanut Butter & Jelly
  4. Home Style Protein Pancakes
  5. Ground Turkey & Sweet Potatoes
  6. Veggie Omelet
  7. Protein Coffee
  8. Jet Fuel Protein Shake
  9. Steak & Eggs
  10. Jacked Green Tea
  11. Natural Nuts & Seeds

Pre-Workout Meal For Muscle Gain

The best muscle gain meals are high carbs and high protein. For that reason, I recommend eating this meal 1 to 2 hours before your workout. That way the carbs are broken down into glucose which you can burn for energy during your workout.

Protein Oatmeal & Honey

Protein oatmeal (aka proats) is an excellent combination of slow-digesting carbs and fast-digesting protein. Perfect for supplying amino acids now and carbs throughout your workout.

Plus, stirring in a bit of honey gives you an added boost of flavor and energy to get you out the door. And the best part is, this meal takes just 3 minutes to prepare!

Click Here For This Proats Recipe

pre-workout meal proats

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

Another quick and easy pre-workout meal is a smoothie. And this blueberry and banana combo provides carbs while packing a potent punch of vitamins and minerals.

To up the protein, simply add a scoop of your favorite protein powder.

Rice Cake Peanut Butter & Jelly

Ditch the bread and replace it with rice cakes. Then spread natural peanut butter and jelly on top. And serve with a protein shake.

Consider it a new twist on an old classic. It doesn’t get much easier than this.

Home Style Protein Pancakes

Did I say it doesn’t get easier? I spoke too soon.

How about having protein pancakes delivered to your door courtesy of Icon Meals? All you have to do is pop them in the microwave and enjoy!

pre-workout meal protein pancakes
Order From Icon

Ground Turkey & Sweet Potatoes

All of the recipes so far take only a few minutes to prepare. This recipe takes a little more prep time, but you can still have your pre-workout meal ready in 20 minutes or less.

Start by sauteeing the ground turkey and seasoning to your liking. At the same time, bake a large sweet potato in the microwave.

After cooking, I like to mash the sweet potato and mix it in with the ground turkey. But you can serve them separately if you like.

Custom Muscle Gain Meal Plan

Get personalized pre-workout meals designed specifically for your body and lifestyle. Including custom recipes formulated to fit your macros and calories – no counting required!

All this for just $13.99/mo! Click here to choose your plan.

Pre-Workout Meal For Weight Loss

For fat loss, pre-workout meals should be low carbs and high protein. Since you don’t have to digest carbs, you can eat this meal 30 to 60 minutes before your workout.

Veggie Omelet

Eggs have been called the perfect protein. One reason for that is the high bioavailability, meaning more of the protein gets absorbed.

For this recipe, you’ll prepare an omelet using only about half the yolks. Then add chopped peppers and shredded cheese.

Protein Coffee

If you’re a caffeine junkie, protein coffee is a great way to get your fix while fueling your body. Another Icon Meals creation that includes a nootropic to help you focus.

Just add 1-1.5 tablespoons of coconut oil (or MCT oil) to round out your macros for a good low carb pre-workout meal.

pre-workout meal protein coffee
Order From Icon

Jet Fuel Protein Shake

If you’re not into coffee or just want to reduce the stimulants, give this shake a try. All you need is a scoop of your favorite protein powder and a squirt of MCT oil.

MCT oil is a super fast-absorbing form of dietary fat that gives you a natural shot of energy. And the protein spares your muscles during your workout.

Steak & Eggs

Shakes and smoothies not your thing? Then you can’t go wrong with good old fashioned steak and eggs. For this recipe, I recommend using whole eggs and a leaner cut of steak.

Or you can choose your ingredients and order this meal pre-cooked from Icon’s Custom Meals page.

Jacked Green Tea

While tea may not sound like much of a meal, this recipe combines it with unflavored protein powder and MCT oil to really jack it up.

In addition, the EGCG compound found in green tea has been shown to increase fat burning. That means this is one potent pre-workout concoction.

Natural Nuts & Seeds

So far, most of these recipes only require a few minutes to prep. But if you want something you can just grab and go, reach for a handful of nuts or seeds.

Some of the most nutritious are almonds, walnuts, and pepitas (pumpkin seeds).

bodybuilding meal plan

Custom Fat Loss Meal Plan

Get personalized pre-workout meals designed specifically for your body and lifestyle. Including custom recipes formulated to fit your macros and calories – no counting required!

All this for just $13.99/mo! Click here to choose your plan.

Key Takeaways

  • A pre-workout meal doesn’t have to be large or time-consuming
  • Eat your pre-workout meal between 2 hours and 30 minutes prior to training depending on your schedule and meal size
  • Remember low carbs for fat loss and high carbs for muscle gain

Now you should have a few good pre-workout meal ideas specific to your goals. But don’t forget to optimize your post-workout as well!

Get more meal ideas by checking out my related articles below.

Homemade Pre-Workout Recipes

Homemade pre-workout saves you up to 70% compared to top brands. And gives you nearly 2X the key ingredients. Try these 5 easy recipes!

Share with your community and get the conversation started!

By |January 14, 2021|bodybuilding, meal prep, nutrition|Comments Off on 11 Best Pre-Workout Meal Ideas For Fat Loss & Muscle Gain